Boutros & Richmond Return to White House to Participate in Bipartisan Anti-Human Trafficking Roundtable

WASHINGTON, DC – Human Trafficking Institute Founding Directors Victor Boutros and John Richmond were invited back to the White House on May 17 as part of a bipartisan anti-human trafficking roundtable discussion in the West Wing’s Roosevelt Room.

This small group discussion was led by Ivanka Trump and included Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-SD), Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). It was a follow-up to the Feb. 23 briefing on human trafficking with President Trump.

“Combatting human trafficking and modern slavery is both a moral and strategic interest domestically and abroad,” Trump told attendees in her opening remarks.

Other participating lawmakers included Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL), Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD), and Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO). In addition to Boutros and Richmond, the roundtable included subject matter experts from International Justice Mission, Dignity Health, Global Centurion, Google, and Polaris.

“Several participants highlighted the need for a coordinated and strategic approach to stop traffickers,” Richmond said. “Other topics included the need for vetting corporate supply chains, quality survivor services, the non-prosecution of victims, and ending the demand for trafficking in persons.”

This discussion with lawmakers was in advance of this week’s “Combating Trafficking and Child Protection Week” in Congress, in which a series of new bills will address the issue of human trafficking. According to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, these bills are part of a larger effort to prioritize efforts to combat trafficking through better law enforcement resources, improved victim services, and efforts to curb demand for human trafficking.

“It is encouraging to see the White House and a bipartisan group of law makers united around the same goal,” Boutros said. “If our leaders pursue a disciplined strategy, marshalling resources to scale efforts to stop traffickers, it could mean millions of victims around the globe don’t have to spend years enduring the trauma of trafficking or struggling to recover from it.”

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Kelli Ross

Kelli Ross

Kelli’s background is in journalism, public relations and peacebuilding. Prior to joining the Institute, she was the Communications Officer / Special Assistant to the Executive Director at Lwala Community Alliance in Nashville, Tennessee. She has worked for the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations in Washington, D.C., directly supporting the Bureau’s Assistant Secretary; as director of communications for microfinance organization Five Talents in Vienna, Virginia; and as business reporter at The Jackson (TN) Sun. She has worked and studied in Kenya, South Sudan, Liberia, India, Peru, and Israel. Kelli holds a BA in communication arts from Union University and an MS in conflict analysis and resolution from George Mason University. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee.